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Go on an energy diet this holiday season with sensors and timers

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Leaving your holiday lights on overnight will cost you. Using a timer to turn off lighting at midnight could save up to 50% of typical energy use for holiday lights.

LEDs use up to 90% less energy than the holiday lights you grew up with

For many of us, the holiday season is a chance to celebrate and to decorate – in particular, with holiday lights. Decking the halls means neighbourhoods filled with twinkling, sparkling lights.

Your tastes might run more to a simple string along the roof line, or something more akin to the Griswold family home in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. But the fact is holiday lights are an energy expense we don't face the rest of the year.

The good news is that for years there's been an easy way to cut back that extra electricity use – switching your old incandescent strings to holiday LEDs. Most older incandescent light strings are energy hogs, which you may have guessed from how warm they can get after being on for a few hours. But LEDs? They use up to 90% less energy, particularly the latest LEDs from the past few years.

If you pair those LEDs with timers and sensors, you'll be well on your way to cutting back your holiday waste.

Timers and sensors make it easy to manage your holiday lights

Using timers for your lights just makes sense. Many of us don't turn out our lights before we go to bed, which can mean that you're using energy all night long when no one is around to admire your display.

Use a timer to set lights to go and off at specific times, such as midnight, to give you peace of mind and make saving energy easy. Using a timer to turn off your holiday lighting display at midnight instead of leaving it on all night will save you around 50% of typical energy use.

Most timers available work with all bulb types, and many even have photocell sensors that let you program lights to come on as soon as it gets dark outside.

Timers are also available for indoor lights, meaning you'll never have to worry that you left the tree plugged in when you headed out for the evening.

From November 27 to December 24, you can save on select timers at Canadian Tire stores across B.C. Watch for deals of $2 and $5 off at a participating Canadian Tire store near you.

Seasonal LEDs offer variety in colours, shapes, and increased safety

LEDs have more to offer over their traditional counterparts than just energy savings. LEDs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from rope lights to icicles.

And if you've shied away from switching your lights because you dislike the blue or cool white LED options, you're in luck. Advances in LED technology over the past few years mean that they're available in all kinds of colours and sizes.

And they're better for safety too; LED lights are cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire.